GIG: Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band
DATE: Friday 14th June 2013
VENUE: Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Rod, London
COST: £40OUR VERDICT: Yoko o.k.
One thing was for sure…this was never going to be a “Minty and the Beeb” review. Wild horses couldn’t drag Minty to a Yoko Ono gig! For The Beeb, just seeing someone so hugely inspirational in concept art and world culture in general would be enough.
With a ticket secured for Yoko’s Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall by the kindly Stephen Bailey from the Beatles Shop in Liverpool, we met up on a glorious sunny evening at the Southbank. Before the gig had started Stephen had already been swamped by half a dozen female friends. “Animal magnetism” he explained!
We took our seats and the programme started with a specially made film featuring Yoko’s past. From film of her as a child in Japan, to her place as a peace activist and a performance artist, this had everyone hyped up before she even appeared on stage.
The Plastic Ono Band was always a concept as well as a band, and tonight, instead of Eric Clapton we had Yoko's son Sean leading the band musically. The band strolled onto the RFH stage followed by Yoko in her trademark black hat. The reception she got let her know a lot of the prejudices she faced in the past were well and truly gone.
Looking ridiculously healthy for an octogenarian, tonight’s set sees Yoko largely forsaking her generally perceived “yelping and screaming” vocal delivery, for a more laid back and sympathetic take that really suits the grooves each song achieves. “Moonbeams” opens the show, and most of the set is taken from her album “Between My Head and the Sky.” A highlight of the set is when she’s joined by Peaches for a rendition of “Yes, I’m a Witch.” Girl Power at its scariest!
Sean said, “Mum, it’s your hit…you’ve got to play it”, before blasting into “Walking On Thin Ice.” For the encore the band are joined again by Peaches, and they have the audience yelling along to “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow)”. Forty odd years ago I could never have imagined standing a couple of feet away from Yoko Ono and singing along with her.
Not only that, the audience and I got to be part of one of her concept pieces. Everyone was given a little torch on the way in, and when Yoko came back out she flashed her own torch in time with her chanting of “I…Love…You.” Part of her ONOCHORD art-piece, we all returned the chant to her, with love.
Yoko came across as very witty and really appreciative of the audience reaction to her. It’s taken a while, but people around the world now appreciate what Yoko had done over the years. Not only in all that she and John did for peace, but her own strong feminist stance as well.